Since Covid-19 is still here and restaurants continue to stress alternative options to dining in, we’ll bring you each week a roundup of takeout meals recently enjoyed by dining editor Timothy Malcolm. 

Beef cheek birria tacos from chef Dawn Burrell at Tacos A Go Go.

Tacos a Go Go

On Taco Tuesdays, Tacos a Go Go blesses us with a special, one that's possibly crafted by a notable Houston chef. Last Tuesday, that chef was James Beard award semifinalist and upcoming Top Chef contestant Dawn Burrell, who got into the birria trend with a taco of braised beef cheek, cheese, red onion, and cilantro, served with consommé. The salty, lightly tangy juices infiltrated the whole dish, dampening the flour tortilla. No worries—it was too delicious for one to care, plus proceeds from the dish go to a local nonprofit. Naturally, I added a pollo guisado taco and chips and queso to my order. 

Grub Burger Bar

What makes a good milkshake? To me, a few things:

  • Thickness. If I want a concrete I'll ask for a concrete. Really, a milkshake should be easily drinkable by straw but thick enough so that I feel like I'm treating myself with ice cream (and not forcing myself to drink milk). 
  • Basic understanding of flavors. Vanilla. Chocolate. All good. Chocolate with peanut butter? Fine, just balance the two correctly. 
  • Excitability. This is pretty subjective, but basically I don't want to get bored drinking this. I want to need to finish this milkshake.

Grub is a chain with locations spread out across the Southern United States. They do pretty good burgers, really good peppery fries, and extremely good shakes. Its Worms & Dirt shake tasted of chocolate and Oreo cream, and I never tired of it. I know none of this is a revelation, but sometimes you just have to respect an extremely good shake. What a winner. 

Two halves of Thim Hing banh mi sandwiches: meatball and pâté.

Thim Hing Banh Mi

It's not once a week that I pick up a banh mi sandwich (or two), but it's pretty dang close. At Thim Hing on the other side of Highway 8 in Asia Town, you order and wait, then about 10 minutes later the bell dings and your sandwiches are ready. It has a fine pâté banh mi, and its meatball version is among my favorites. Did I wish the sandwiches had a little more protein? Yes. Was 10 minutes a long time to wait? Not necessarily. When comparing banh mi spots, I want three things: freshness, a good bang for my buck, and fast service. Thim Hing definitely has the first, sort of has the second, and pretty much has the third. For a quick bite way out west, it works well. 

Wula Buhuan

I'm a sucker for Szechuan red oil dishes spiked with chile pepper slices. Enter Wula Buhuan's spicy boiled beef, in which tender slices of beef, some veggies, and a whole lot of hot ones are cooked in a water broth brightened by red oil (and peppercorns, of course). I asked for the most extreme spice level I could get, and the result was a wonderful lingering heat, but not a punch in the face. In other words: I can eat this over and over again.